When did Cox get started with Alternative Energy projects and what was the initial impetus?
Cox started focusing on alternative energy projects in 2007 when Cox Conserves, our national sustainability program, was created. Cox Chairman Jim Kennedy is passionate about the environment and wanted to make sure our company is being a good steward of the environment. We’ve completed numerous alternative energy projects in Arizona, California, Georgia, New Jersey and Oregon. For many years, we focused on energy efficiency, and through Cox Conserves, we’ve expanded our projects to include alternative energy, water conservation and waste management. We’ve also made a concerted effort to make our fleet as efficient as possible.
Cox uses both fuel cells and solar. What factors do you use to determine the technology?
We look at factors such as incentives, sun exposure and how facilities are used. For example, in a building where people work 8-5, it may make more sense to harness power from the sun. Some of our buildings such as call centers and data centers operate around the clock. For these, fuel cells continuously generate alternative energy – regardless of the weather or time of day.
What equipment makes up the majority of your electricity use?
Data centers, cable plant, HVAC and lighting are major areas where we utilize electricity.
Cox has a large concentration of fuel cells in California. What is attractive about this location?
Each of our major subsidiaries (Cox Communications, Manheim, Cox Media Group and AutoTrader.com) operates in California, so we have a large physical presence in this state. We look at where our company has an impact on the environment and find ways to make a positive contribution. California’s weather, high energy prices and incentives are also attractive when looking at alternative energy projects.
What are some other focus areas of Cox Conserves?
Cox also focuses on water conservation, waste management, energy efficiency and an eco-friendly fleet. For example, we’re saving more than 20 million gallons of water each year.
We also support countless environmental nonprofits in the community. On the national level, The Trust for Public Land and American Rivers are our nonprofit partners.
Many companies’ sustainability programs suffered during the economic downturn, but Cox continued to complete projects. How did you do this?
We’ve found that it is vital to have support from the top. Our company leadership is committed to being an eco-friendly company. And, we’ve found that doing the right thing for the environment is also the right thing for business. Incentives have really helped us make the up-front investment in alternative energy, and these projects have an attractive return on investment. Our fleet is another example. With rising gas costs, having a fuel-efficient fleet is good for the environment and the bottom line.
How did Cox Conserves start?
For many years, Cox focused on energy efficiency and conserving resources. We were also a leader in using recycled newsprint. In 2007, Cox Chairman Jim Kennedy created Cox Conserves. While we were always looking at ways to be eco-friendly, this program rallied employees and put all of our programs together under one name.
Without stimulus in the form of subsidies and rebates, would it still make business sense for Cox to continue with Alternative Energy installations?
We’ve found that alternative energy installations have a great return on investment, especially with the long life of solar panels. Over the last five years, the price of these projects has decreased. However, the incentives are an important way to help companies begin these projects.
Director of Engineering, Alternative Energy and Business Continuity
Steven Bradley is director of engineering, alternative energy and business continuity for Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company. In this role, he oversees electrical and mechanical engineering for Cox’s facilities, including new construction design, retro fits and infrastructure monitoring and management. Bradley also manages alternative energy projects, which are a key component of the company’s national sustainability program (Cox Conserves). Nationwide, Cox’s alternative energy projects prevent 17,400 tons of carbon emissions from entering the environment.
Prior to joining Cox, Bradley served as an engineer for Georgia Power, where he managed the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-voltage transmission stations.
He serves on the Georgia Solar Energy Association’s board of directors and the Solar Electric Power Association’s steering committee. Bradley is also a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership’s (IGEL) 2012 class. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University.